ALEXANDRIA, VA – On Wednesday, July 8, 2020, Brandi Yee answered at least “Ten Questions” from guest host Jane Hess Collins about herself, ACT for Alexandria, and how Alexandrians can get involved in our great city, during our Z-TV LIVE! show. And we want to know a few more things. Here’s five more questions with Brandi.
“Our donor advised funds award nearly $2 million in grants each year.”
- The Washington Post recently published a negative article on donor advised funds. What are your thoughts on that?
At ACT for Alexandria we help our donor advised fund (DAF) holders give to their favorite causes and encourage them to give to local organizations. Our DAFs award nearly $2 million in grants each year, and they also replenish their DAFs so they can continue to donate to the nonprofits and causes that are important to them. We’ve seen them give even more as they respond to the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, since ACT is a community foundation, a small percentage of their funds support ACT’s operations and community work. So, our donors invest in our local community twice by opening a DAF with us – they can give to local nonprofits and support ACT simultaneously.
- How else does ACT for Alexandria support local nonprofits in addition to what you mentioned on “10 Questions”?
We also help nonprofits through our grantmaking. We offer capacity building grants to help them strengthen their infrastructure to better carry out their mission. Then we also have special funds like the ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund designed to support nonprofits helping individuals and families most affected by the pandemic. We also offer professional development through our annual IMPACT Forum and our Racial Equity Capacity Building Initiative, which includes programs like Allyship and the Learning Lab. And, we also co-convene the Alexandria Council of Human Service Organizations (ACHSO), comprised of nonprofits and City agencies.
- What are the most pressing needs for Alexandria nonprofits right now?
Sustainability and fundraising. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so many of them to change their operations and programming, to cancel events, and to increase their staff because volunteers aren’t available. Many of them are working remotely now and they still need to make sure their teams are equipped and ready for the long haul – the pandemic will most likely affect fundraising well into 2021.
- What are you reading right now?
Two books – “How to be Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. I’m reading it with my Friday night takeout group. We’re learning a lot and it’s been helpful to process everything with a group of dear friends. I’m also reading “Be the Bridge” by LaTasha Morrison” which is about how to pursue God’s heart for racial reconciliation. I reconnected with an old Bible study group from back in my early twenties in DC and now we meet virtually to discuss this book every couple of weeks. There’s seven of us and we live all over the country.
- If you were 18 and starting college this fall what would you major in?
I double majored in rhetoric and communication and sociology – organizational studies, then got a master’s in organizational learning so I would never have to take a math or science course. I think this time around I would double major in Spanish and art history and I would definitely study abroad. I didn’t do that in college because I had FOMO – I was afraid I’d miss out on things going on at school. I would have gone to Mexico or Spain, two of my favorite countries. And art? I don’t really know anything about art, so it would be nice to go to art museums and better understand the artists and their work.